We offer students various opportunities to explore their interests in different research areas. Students who actively engage in undergraduate research can develop skills such as critical thinking and data analysis, which will aid in applications to graduate school or job market readiness. You can also view our Faculty Research Clusters to find a professor with shared interests.

We encourage you to reach out to the professor you would like to conduct your research with to confirm if they have available projects. Students may also fill out the interest form linked down below to have a chance to be connected to a faculty member who shares a mutual interest.

Guide for Emailing Professors about Independent Study - SOC 390

Subject Line: Make sure to use a short and relevant one. Good examples might be “Application for SOC 390 research” or “Interest in undergraduate research experience.”

Addressing the recipient: Address the email to the contact person listed. Start your email in a formal way, using an appropriate title. For example, “Dear Prof. XXXX” .

  • When addressing faculty, use “Dear Dr. LASTNAME” or “Dear Professor LASTNAME."
  • When addressing a graduate student, use "Dear Mx. LASTNAME," "Dear Ms. LASTNAME," or "Dear Mr. LASTNAME." Note that you should use “Dear Mx. LASTNAME” if you do not know their gender identity.

Email content: At the start of your email, let the contact know who you are. It’s a good idea to include a statement about why you are emailing them and to include any other information they requested in the posting or your qualifications. Let them know you look forward to hearing from them, and include a formal closing. Be sure to attach a completed SOC 390 - Independent Study Form.

Example email:

Dear Prof. LASTNAME,

I hope you are doing well. My name is Jane Smith, and I am a sophomore Sociology major. I am interested in gaining more experience in sociology. I saw your research interests on the Faculty Research Clusters website, and those topics really interested me. I have attached my resume for your consideration. I’m happy to follow up and answer any questions you may have. I look forward to hearing from you!

Best Regards,




Other Research Opportunities On Campus

UIUC offers a robust system for students to get involved. Check out these programs for more opportunities:

Illinois Office of Undergraduate Research

Summer Research Opportunities Database

Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowships for Undergraduates

Undergraduate Research Certificate

Independent Study Forms

Students pursue independent study by finding a faculty sponsor within the department, who have a specialty in their area of interest. Once a connection is made students then submit the form below with a synopsis of exactly what their project is and the requirements. Forms must be signed by the student and instructor and sent to soc-advising@illinois.edu for processing. 

Independent Study Form - SOC 390

Please be advised of LAS College Policies regarding independent study limitations